Wearing black doesn’t make us look truly slimmer and only just over quarter of us actually suit black. There we have said it. But before you run to the hills, colour specialist personal stylists from House of Colour advise us that we all have neutrals that look incredible on us and wearing these, and the other colours that truly suit us, can be transformative and supersede many of our need to wear black.
Managing Director of House of Colour, Helen Venables says: “Whilst black absorbs light so less detail is detected by the eye in the hope that lumps or bumps may appear to disappear, what actually makes us look slimmer is wearing the right colours because this draws the eye up to a face which looks radiant and healthy, so the focus is no longer on the body and its wobbly bits.
“Black is also often worn at work in the hope that is symbolises professionalism, prestige and power, however, is it memorable? Black on the wrong person will drain us and make us look unhealthy, whilst wearing the right colours and styles makes us look attractive and glowing and we feel good about ourselves.” Venables is quick to point out she is not demonising black clothes. “It looks gorgeous on some people. It’s just that it only looks good on just over 25% of us, the Winters.”
In the 20th century the Swiss artist Johannes Itten established that each of us has a basic skin pigment which falls into four groupings which are defined by the unique combination of depth, hue and tone. According to Venables and her 100 strong team of colour and style consultants, which colours suit us is determined by the pigments in our skin and eye colour. “We all fall into one of the four seasonal categories which have an array of gorgeous colours that look amazing on you and some of these will be your wow colours. ‘Autumns’ are best suited to muted, soft, warm colours such as rust, and dark olive. ‘Springs’ look best in bright, clear, warm colours such as like geranium pink and apple green. ‘Summers’ wear muted, soft, cool colours like dusty pink and smoked grape. ‘Winters’ wear bright, clear, cool colours like electric blue and raspberry, and yes they are the ones that can wear black!”
Ok so we know that black doesn’t suit all of us (some of us begrudgingly), but we have neutrals and other gorgeous hues that truly do. So how does colour really impact our look, mood and indeed how we present ourselves to the world?
“There are many years of research that show the effects of light and dark on our well-being. We know that to see gorgeous colours is mood lifting, which can even affect our physiology including improving our blood pressure, as well as our mood. Many of us wear dark clothes when we are grieving or low in mood, whilst we wear bright clothes as symbols of hope and positivity. Colour also is proven to have a deep impact on the way people view others, objects and brands, helps us makes decisions, and is linked to memories. No one can doubt that our spirits are lifted at the first signs of spring and we try to warm ourselves as autumn becomes established.”
It is interesting when you consider that colour is everywhere, yet nearly impossible to describe.
Venables says: “Clothes are just fabric, it is the person that is important, but our relationship with our clothes and our colour and style is highly influential and sometimes transformative. Wearing the wrong or right clothes and colours can trap or free you. One good example is if your whole wardrobe is full of colours and styles that suit you, it makes getting dressed in the morning a whole lot easier. Accessories are the beautiful finishing touches.”
But Venables hastens to add that it is not about wearing to wear a rainbow of bright colours but choosing the right colours that suit us, not those that look good on someone else. “Great quality neutrals ooze style kudos especially using a pop of colour. We all have our own wow colours that always look amazing when worn close to our face. Even the wrong lipstick will drain us, but the right colour will make our complexion glow and can lift your whole look. Once you know what colours suit you, you can successfully make unlikely pairings and change things up a little bit if that is your style personality.”
5 ways to be bold with colour
Use colour to look vibrant and radiant, this includes the neutrals that suit you. When you think colour, think both contrast and combinations.
It is true that once you know your colours, most of us need to do a spring clean of our wardrobes, but after that every piece should work effortlessly together meaning you can be more eco-friendly and don’t need an endless supply of new items. Instead boost your wardrobe with gorgeous accessories as the icing on the cake.
We all have a colour that we wished suited us, but we feel healthy and radiant when we are wearing the colours that best suit us.
Primary red is the only colour that suits every skin tone because it is neither yellow nor blue toned.
- Know that colours are thought to be over 60% responsible for our first impressions of one another. For those of us who are more conservative at work, use good quality neutrals for professional kudos. A pop of colour can have the final say.